Thursday, September 10, 2009

Discovery UK re-brand explained

As a lot of designers I know don't have the Discovery channel on subscription, and even less actually watch TV, I thought I would get the scoop on their recent rebrand . To do this I caught up with Federico Gaggio – VP Creative for Discovery UK, to find out about this "no idents" idea that they had developed.

Well, rejecting the long serving ident is a very bold move and I asked him what brought this on. He explained they had commissioned some research to look at the way viewers watch pay TV – looking at things like what is the influence of the EPG, listings, continuity and how do people make the decision on what to watch. One of the take-aways from this was that people tune into programs and not channels. This prompted him and his team to start thinking about what the traditional ident has to offer – the visual gives you a brief brand message, but the audio VO is tasked with a different message – that of continuity. This led to the thinking of how to separate the two.

DISCOVERY BRANDING junction 2 lo from Tim Rabjohns on Vimeo.

What they have now is more efficient junctions – there are menus and promos for what is coming next. The use of still pictures from the following programs , is also a clever way of PVR proofing - as the viewer spins forward it is much easier to decipher a still image rather than a rapidly moving one. There is also an onscreen count down device to add anticipation and to indicate the start of the next show.

DISCOVERY BRANDING junction 1 lo from Tim Rabjohns on Vimeo.

In the place of idents as branding they now have more dedicated brand messages in the form of 30" (or longer) brand films which have more time and scope to deliver more exciting ideas about what the channel is about (see this example). I for one, find this branding spot a lot more exciting than a standard 12 second ident (but not as artistically interesting). One of the key differentiators for Discovery is that they make and therefore uniquely 'own' their key content – so, for them, the content is also the brand. The new on-air devices used for continuity incorporate press stills, at once celebrating and visually signposting the content.

DISCOVERY BRANDING brand film 1 lo from Tim Rabjohns on Vimeo.

On a practical note – the rebrand was executed in-house under Federico's creative direction. Richard Holman and his team at Devilfish provided valuable ideas in the early stages of the creative process, then freelancer Tony Linkson was brought in to lead the team of designers who created the on-air package. Time, and more research, will tell if all of this works, so watch this space…

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

having to do a presentation on discovery for work this proved extremely helpful as well as interesting!

Keep up the good work!